Some things are worth waiting for and the Eels UK tour is certainly one of them. After suffering a series of delays due to the global pandemic, the indie rock stalwarts were in their element with their gig at the O2 Academy in Southampton.
Lockdown Hurricane might be the name of the tour, and the mood definitely represented this sentiment. It felt like it’s been a long time coming.
Having been around (in different line ups) since the early nineties, the band have always been synonymous with their unique fusion of experimental arrangements, uplifting melodies and intelligent and reflective lyrics.
The seminal rock band and in particular frontman ‘E’ may have been around for over thirty years, but without a doubt they can still rock as ‘E’ declared:
‘We’re proving that you can be old as fuck and still rock like fuck’. Not only can they rock hard, but the banter is still on point too with the band running with a quirky ‘exercise’ concept where all the band members have ‘exercise goals’ to achieve which was demonstrated throughout the set with quirky graphics illustrating that the various band members had hit their ‘exercise goals’.
Captivating, candid and always amusing, the band opened up their sold out show with ‘Steam Engine’ and ‘Amateur Hour’ from 2022’s ‘Extreme Witchcraft’.
The band had lots of energy and swagger and played a fantastic selection of songs from their extensive back catalogue which included the fantastic ‘Earth to Dora’.
As well as showcasing some of their most loved hits and deeper cuts, there were also some intriguing covers which included the Small Faces and Nancy Sinatra amongst others. The electrifying riff from The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ was elegantly mixed with ‘My Beloved Monster making for a fantastic mash up.
One particular standout was the fantastic ‘I Like the Way This is Going’ from ‘Tomorrow Morning’ which was a gorgeous pared back rendition which really showed off the beauty of the lyrics.
Other highlights included ‘I Need Some Sleep’, ‘I like Birds’ and ‘The Deconstruction’, all of which provided a stellar reminder of the fantastic lyricism that Eels are renowned for.
The fantastic ‘Novocaine for the Soul’ was an absolute dream and got one of the biggest receptions of the night.
This was a dynamic and well-rounded performance from a truly compelling live act that is one of the most exciting indie-rock bands of our generation.